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Entitlement Programs



Curses, Foiled Again
Pedro Prieto and Yordan Llauger aroused suspicion when they tried to buy a Nissan Maxima in Austin, Texas, using 90 $100 gift cards. Police linked the pair to the theft of people’s credit-card data. (Austin’s KVUE-TV)

• Police accused Adam Hall, 34, of vandalizing his ex-girlfriend’s car in Bennington, Vt., by scratching “sult” (sic) on the hood. Suspecting Hall was trying to spell the word “slut,” they asked him to write the sentence, “You are a slut.” Hall wrote, “You are a sult.” (ABC News)

Entitlement Programs
After an internal review of the metropolitan Washington, D.C., transit authority showed 645 items missing from one branch, investigators found 74 items in the home of a branch employee. “You would call it stealing, but I would say it was more like borrowing,” he said, explaining, for example, that he took a portable generator because his home lost power during Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and kept it in case he lost power again. After the search, word spread among the man’s co-workers, many of whom, the report stated, “began to bring into the office Metro-owned equipment that they had been keeping at home.” (The Washington Times)

• On trial for stealing county property in Morrow County, Ohio, former police officer Joseph Hughes denied knowing about the stolen items, including 12 air conditioners, authorities found in his basement. “It’s going to sound kind of ridiculous,” Hughes told the court, “but we believed that there was some kind of paranormal presence in the basement.” Despite his insistence that “there was evidence to support it,” Hughes was found guilty of 18 of the 20 charges. (Columbus’ WBNS-TV)

Lest We Remember
Dec. 30, 2011, never happened in Samoa and Tokelau, as the Pacific island neighbors switched sides of the International Date Line. The change puts the islands’ workdays in sync with its Asian-Pacific neighbors, increasing trade possibilities, according to Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi, Samoa’s prime minister. (Associated Press)

Slightest Provocations
An argument between a couple that ended with the boyfriend’s stabbing began, according to authorities in Martin County, Fla., “because they missed the ball drop for New Year’s.” The 26-year-old boyfriend told sheriff’s officials that at 12:05 a.m., the upset 46-year-old girlfriend splashed his face with beer. When he retaliated, the woman went inside her Palm City home, and her son, Brandon Scarpati, 19, came out and confronted him. The two fought until Scarpati stabbed him in the hand. (West Palm Beach’s WPTV-TV)

• Authorities arrested Ricky L. Leer, 48, for decapitating Stephen C. Webber, 53, in Sarasota County, Fla., during a fight over spilled food. According to the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office, Webber, Leer and a third man were cooking at a homeless camp in the woods when Webber knocked over the grill. Leer then jumped Webber and used a machete to slice off his head. (Sarasota’s Herald-Tribune)

Entitled to Special Parking
Americans lacking high school diplomas may qualify as disabled if employers deny them jobs on the basis of that shortcoming, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It stated in an “informal discussion letter” that an employer’s requirement of a high school diploma, long a standard criterion for screening job applicants, must be “job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity” to avoid violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Employment-law professionals pointed out far-reaching implications of the EEOC’s advice, including, Philadelphia lawyer Mary Theresa Metzler said, “less incentive for the general public to obtain a high school diploma if many employers eliminate that requirement for job applicants.” (The Washington Times)

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
A British court heard that when Marcin Kasprzak, 25, got “bored” with his partner, Michelina Lewandowska, 27, he changed his Facebook status to “single” and told Lewandowska she wasn’t as good-looking as the women he saw at the gym. Then he attacked her with a 300,000-volt Taser stun gun. After Kasprzak bound and gagged her, he and a friend put her in a computer box and taped it securely. Next, they “drove her to a wooded area where it was unlikely she would be found, and there dug a shallow grave and buried her alive,” prosecutor Jonathan Sharp told Leeds Crown Court. Despite having dirt piled around and on top of the box and an 88-pound tree branch placed across the box to keep it shut, Lewandowska regained consciousness, fought her way out of the box and the dirt and flagged down a passing car. (BBC News)

Drinking-Class Heroes

Voters in Medicine Lodge, Kan., approved Sunday liquor sales for the first time since Prohibition, which ended in 1933, even though Kansas still hasn’t ratified the constitutional amendment that repealed it. Medicine Lodge, population 2,000, was the home of Carry A. Nation, who famously crusaded against liquor by smashing up saloons with her hatchet. (Associated Press)

• Police officers working a traffic checkpoint in Plaistow, N.H., suspected Barry Short, 22, might be driving while intoxicated when he drove by at a slow rate of speed in a vehicle that “was missing a rear tire and was riding on the rim,” Officer Michael Beauchesne said, adding Short had no idea how long he had been riding on the rim and believed he was in a different town. His blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit. (Manchester’s WMUR-TV)

• Chelsea Hess, 22, who rolled her car while driving drunk, filed suit against a bar in Bluffton, S.C., because the bartender failed to check her age or whether she was already drunk before serving her. She was only 20 at the time of the accident, which left her a paraplegic. Hess, who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt when she was thrown from the vehicle, is also suing the state Department of Transportation, claiming the agency failed to properly maintain the shoulder of the road where the wreck occurred. (The Beaufort Gazette)

Scrap Heap of the Rich
Japanese police reported that 11 luxury sports cars driving to Hiroshima crashed in Yamaguchi prefecture when the driver of one tried to change lanes and hit the median barrier. His Ferrari spun across the highway, and other cars collided while trying to avoid it. In all, eight Ferraris, a Lamborghini and two Mercedes—worth more than $1 million collectively—were involved in the pileup, as well as three other vehicles. Police said 10 people were treated for bruises and cuts, and some of the vehicles were beyond repair. (Associated Press)